Worldwide Films was the biggest of the big, the grandest of the grand. But the era of dream factories has gone, replaced by the era of quick-bucks real estate. It’s time to sell the studio, parcel by parcel. Not so fast, a mysterious someone says – someone who has secretly lived amid the sets and soundstages for decades, someone who will kill to preserve his backlot home. The Phantom of Hollywood lures movie fans with its luminous cast and a remember-when nostalgia that includes clips from famous classic films contrasted with glimpses of the same sets years later (filming took place at MGM while the backlot was being dismantled). Enter the realm of the phantom’s mad, murder-filled memory lane. Lights, camera…mystery!
The Phantom of Hollywood was a 1974 gem of TV movie starring Jack Cassidy, Skye Aubrey, Peter Lawford, Jackie Coogan, Broderick Crawford, Peter Haskell, and John Ireland. It has become a cult film because of its cast, its limited availability and for being one of the last films shot on the Metro Goldwyn Mayer back lot, which was being demolished at the time of filming.
Produced and directed by Gene Levitt the telefilm aired on CBS Television as The Phantom of Lot 2, which was a a riff on Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.
I had seen the film only once on VHS and it was a lousy VHS copy. So I was very happy to pick up a copy of the film through The Warner Archive, who as I have mentioned in earlier posts, is releasing some fun films to make this Halloween season extra spooky and extra strange.